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Is it possible to diet after an eating disorder?

Hi everyone,

I hope I'm posting this in the right place, apologies if i'm not!

I just wondered whether there is anybody out there who has successfully gone on to lose weight in a healthy way after having an eating disorder? Is it possible? Will dieting always cause a relapse?

I know i'm asking big questions but i'm so desperately unhappy with my weight and I can't even count on my hands the amount of times I have joined slimming world or started other diets and ended up with my head down the toilet. I never usually make it past the first week without restricting, excessively exercising or binging and purging.

I want to lose weight healthy more than anything but everytime I seem to end back up in a vicious cycle of losing and regaining the same 2 stone.

Any thoughts, insight, experience?

Thank you for listening x
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Hello Rainstar hun,
I saw this post and had to drop by, I hope you don't mind! My personal experience hasn't been exactly like yours but I will say that I have had a history of bingeing. I used to buy large quantities of food and eat it all in one go even when I felt sick, and I would even get aggressive and upset when caught in the act. I felt so guilty...
The first time I lost weight was using the Cambridge Diet for a special event at school, and I lost 2 stone successfully. However, soon after coming off the diet I met my current boyfriend and ate socially. As I put on weight my self-esteem plummeted and I soon began to not only overeat but also to binge as I used to do before.
Now comes the ray of sunshine in this tale: one day I just decided that enough was enough. I don't know whether it was the research paper on diabetes that I'd chosen to write for my Health and Social Care A-Level, or my relationship starting to fail due to my ever-falling self-esteem, or just whether I'd plain old gotten fed up of the way I was... but I just started a new diet. I tried low-carb, saw good results and was happy, and as time has passed I have changed my diet to suit me using my own intuition and not what 'experts' (I'm talking about trashy magazines here, not people like Dr Atkins and Rosemary Connelly who are actually good and influential people who have helped many many people to lose weight) say I should eat. Cabbage diet? What a load!
Anyway, ramble over, I'd just like to say that it is indeed possible. I've been several months with only one binge relapse, where I sat down and carefully looked at why I did it and what I could do to avoid doing it again, without punishing myself for it and ending up in a vicious cycle of yo-yoing again. I have identified the 'trigger' foods that are more likely to make me overeat and I have either eliminated or substituted them for better foods. That isn't to say that I won't accept a piece of chocolate or a crisp from a friend, but I sure won't buy a packet or especially not a six-pack or I'd eat it all! :eek:
As my stats show, I'm just over half way on my journey to a weight I never thought I would ever be in my life, but for the first time ever I feel like I can achieve it...not tomorrow, not next week, but I will. I have no doubt. Because I'm not on a diet, I'm living a new way of life that I will always change to suit my health, no longer my greed or my emotions.
Lastly I just want to say, that if you want to ask me about anything, or if you just need some support, I will help you, and I'm sure many of the wonderful people here at MiniMins will also rally round to ensure that you are happy and most of all...healthy.
Take care of yourself xx

[FONT=&quot]Thank you so much for replying to my message and sharing your experience with me :)[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]First of all I’d like to say how awesome it is that you’ve been able to control your binging and that you are doing amazingly well :) Huge well done! Reading your post really inspired hope inside of me that there is life beyond the food issues which we face. [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Binging is definitely a problem for me, I never seem to feel full and I don’t tend to do things by halves. Often I feel out of control and like if I start eating I won’t be able to stop. I am able to put away disgusting amounts of food :/ What was your starting point? Sometimes I can feel really motivated to change but it seems like such a huge prospect that I never know what the first step is (and maybe it is different for everyone?)[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Thanks again for your lovely post xx[/FONT]
Hey again Rainstar, glad I could offer any ray of hope! :D I'll try to help as best I can.
Firstly I'd like to humbly suggest an online calorie counter such as the one I use, which is FoodFocus.co.uk, because the main thing that it does is help me to realise just how much I am eating. One of the main things I have learned in my journey to beat the binge is portion control, which has been really hard as all my life I have been used to a lion's share let's say! Here is my recommendation to help you keep track: buy a set of no frills kitchen scales and just start out weighing out your cereals or soups etc. It was a massive eye-opener for me to realise that one portion of cereal isn't actually a brimming bowlful :eek:
I have never been obsessive with my weighing either, since I know it can be just as dangerous to go too far with that and weigh every little thing and worry about tiny variations.
However, putting down what you eat every day in the counter does help you to feel in control of what you are eating. I felt empowered seeing in front of me what I had decided to fill my stomach with every day, and I saw a gradual change of better decisions in my lifestyle. I won't lie and say that I am a diet saint who now never even looks at chocolate, but I will also say that changing my eating patterns have also changed me in general. I think the more healthy stuff we eat the more we like it, and the less junk we eat, the less we crave it. I still like the taste of a crisp, but I no longer crave them the way I once did.
As to the problem with never feeling full, I also felt the same way, and I can happily assure you that it is a horrible curse...that does go away! I've learned to identify the difference between the hunger in my head and the hunger in my stomach, and the more you recognise it, the less you feel that hunger in your mind. It's a miracle that once upon a time I would eat several bags of crisps, sandwiches, chocolates, biscuits, and then a dinner, without feeling full, only sick; but now I can eat the relatively small portion that I've put before myself and feel not only satisfied but happy. I don't know about you but I always felt empty and guilty after bingeing, which I think is one of the main emotions that starts off those false hunger pangs. So the vicious cycle continues!
Another problem I had, like yourself, was that I didn't do things by halves either, I was buying family packs of food in a binge-mood, and then eating it no matter what because 'I was going to start my diet tomorrow, so I'd need to eat all of this today'. I remember the last time I ever binged before I started my current lifestyle: I threw the remnants away, thinking 'this is it, no more', I'd rather waste that junk than hurt myself any more.
I know it is a huge huge change to make. My lifestyle has gone from miserable food junkie to, (I like to think! :D :eek:) a happy healthy good food convert. But...that didn't happen overnight. It took a lot of support from my family and friend, but most of all from myself. I knew I needed to be good to myself. My changes happened gradually, as I said I've modified my dietary intake as I've gone along, so I didn't go 'good' straight away :D
If you need any support, advice, or even just to vent... I'll always try my best to help you. xx
Wow, I could have written that myself (the experiences with food of course). Its so comforting to know that I'm not the only person who has ever experience such issues with binging and not feeling full. I have been so disgusted with myself sometimes that I feel like I am a monster, very alone and obviously not normal like other people.

I'm glad to hear there is light at the end of the tunnel and thank you so much for the tips, I've checked out Food Focus and I'm going to start using it today so I will let you know how it goes :) Dusted off my kitchen scales too :)

Yes I can sympathise, I too have had that feeling as if I am a monster, alone and above all not normal. That is the one main thing that has kept me going: the desire to be normal, and I fully believe that we both can be. If you need me I can be here to support you and I have faith in your ability to change for the better just like me. I know you can do it, Rainstar :)
Give those kitchen scales a workout and let me know how today goes :D
We can do it Mrs JK!!!

Evy - Had a great first day using food focus - i never realised how easily you can consume your daily allowance if you don't keep track. Also had that realisation that my portions are huge, and i guess that has not been helped in the past by doing slimming world with there 'all you can eat' motto.

Have a good day and I will let you know how I'm getting on x
Chin up Mrs JK, we will all be okay together :) xx

Hey Rainstar, I'm so happy that your first day went so well :D Using a cal counter sure is a big eye opener, but that will only help so I'm glad you had success with it. Thanks for posting to let me know how you got on, and if it helps you, keep posting! :D I'll always stop by to see how you're getting on and help where I can xx

..P.S. All you can eat is a little tough for people like us to deal with I think, because of our past issues with control over food. That's why I think that all-you-can-eat does work for many people, but cal counters are more helpful for us :)


Silver Member
hey, I have pretty bad issues, I'm mostly in control at the moment which consists of just constantly thinking about food.
I am doing CD very badly.. but I did manage to do LL for 12 weeks, only had two weeks without any lapsing at all, some weeks my lapse would just be a slice of ham. I consistently lost weight though.

I find that when I'm obsessing about food and my weight, I usually am lighter, and when I stop obsessing, the weight slips on.. which is rubbish really.
I will have small binges, then they get slightly bigger, then I purge, then I stop and realise its getting out of hand.
I think VLCDs can be good, but coming off them is hard, but I was 3 stone lighter when I came off LL so several binges later I had only gained about 5lbs.
I think its possible, its difficult, but if like me, you wish to stuff your face but not be fat, then some dieting is deffo worth it. I will happily eat nothing (just CD food) for 5 days if I get to eat more at the weekend, I know its not healthy but if I let myself, every day would be a feeding frenzy and I'd be the size of a house!
In the long term I will probably see a proper counsellor though.
I have been on both ends of the spectrum, overweight and underweight. My overweightness has been caused by binge eating and my underweightness was caused by addiction to exercise and not eating.

I sincerely hope there is a way to diet after and eating disorder as that is exactly what I am attempting.
I have had this problem too, and I know it will be the biggest hurdle when I'm trying to lose weight again in a few months. I find as soon as I feel a little lighter I crave it then I start purging if I feel I've eaten too much which always ends in a binge purge cycle for a while then back to square one. I have a history of bulimia.
I'm not sure how I'll combat it this time either, but I know it has something to do with baby steps towards a healthy lifestyle for life as opposed to dieting and learning to forgive myself little blips.

It is possible it's just a case of being kind and loving to ourselves and finding a way - good luck.

hi guys i feel this is the most appropriate group to join as i developed an eating disorder about 5 yrs ago which lasted a few horrible years.

for the last 2 years ive worked hard with positive mental thoughts and stuff which has helped me stop the binging and purging. but i still have within me everyday like a black cloud or a little devil the obsession with food.

i dont sit and have a binge like i used to..that was horrific and im so glad thats all over (it does happen occasionally)
and i virtually dont make myself sick ever.

but i do continue to think about food all day, obsess about it, dont feel full or satisfied off a normal portion of food. Eat when im bored or on my own. Always wanting to lose weight but never seem to do it.

i just want to be free from the chains of food thoughts. I desperately want to lose a stone but have been trying to do this for the last few years but cant get slimmer because i over eat every single day.

im never hungry but always eat anyway. i cant wait till my body says it wants food.

i dont know what my body truely wants because i have confused myself with millions of different diets and conflicting advice. The only thing i do hear my body telling me and that is it is not hungry....but i dont listen and i carry on reaching for the food.

food has become a deeply emotional comfort but at the same time its the bain of my life. I wish i could lose my interest in food.

how do i stop eating so much.
i know how much correct portion sizes are, ive done every diet in history since i was 18 but even though i know portions sizes i ignore them too.
its like i completely lack any dignified control.
how do i gain control and stop being a slave to my mind.


i hope someone can give me some home truths or some help in one way or another.

sometimes i wish someone would just shake me by the shoulders and tell me to pull myself together and get a grip and stop being so weak minded.
to just stop eating when im not even hungry!!!!!!!! (i tell myself this but i ignore this too)

i hope there is hope for me, and from what ive read from this group i think there will be.

susie xxx
I think it's possible to eat healthily/normally after an eating disorder. But I think it's probably more about getting there in your head rather than what plan you follow?
Food trackers are brilliant :) keeping a food diary is always a good idea! you can see exactly what's going in, keep an eye on your portions and just generally feel like you have some control over what your eating. I couldn't live without MFP.
But just as important is WHAT you eat. Some foods really do just trigger your body into wanting MORE. I find that I have to just avoid some things lol. One bite is never enough.
I like the phrase 'disordered eating' because that's how I feel when I'm eating badly. I don't have anorexia or bulimia and I don't excessively exercise. But my old eating patterns are just as destructive and dangerous in the longer term.
I advise some counselling for anyone with issues around food. Because ultimately it's your head that dictates what your eating and how.

Sent from my iPhone using MiniMins
Thanks for the replies - I think you're right about needed to sort the mind out and then the rest will follow

I've just started using Food focus which is virtually the same as MFP and this has been helping to make me realise just how many calories i'm eating, and making me think about my portions.

I think small goals is the way forward, i think in the past i've tried to tackle too many different bad habbits when it comes to food and exercise and breaking it down will help I think

Thanks for starting this thread, as a serial binge eater I often wonder the same... I'm in the same sort of situation as you, and worry I wont be able to stick to a plan, i'm currently following Slimming World, this has to be the 10th time I've re started, its been very up and down but
I am now confident i'm eating 'normally' and hoping it will last.... I wish you all the best with your journey and look forward to following how you are doing :) xx
Hi all, I have been wanting to chip in on this thread for a while now.

I worry very much about dieting because of my previous ED. I feel very strongly that for me, the ED never goes away - it's always there in the background, and I am either in the ED or aware of not being in it. I'm not sure if that makes any sense to anyone :confused:

I am seriously considering consulting an ED dietician on an occasional basis just to check in. I don't suppose anyone can recommend one?? The reason is that I now have significant (non-ED related) medical problems, and I know that I have to be really careful. My GP knows I'm doing WW and is generally supportive as long as I eat all the daily points and try to eat all the weeklies as well. She doesn't know about my ED history, and I'm not willing to disclose that. I do wonder whether having a little "supervision" from a dietician specialising in ED would be reassuring... Does anyone have any experience of this?

Sorry for hijacking Rainstar:(
im seeing a hypnotherapist (also a counsellor) about my emotional eating habits on monday and for next several weeks. Will let you guys know how it goes. Apart from that ive also been focusing on more protein and less carbs in my meals and it really settles food cravings down to a bare minimum throughout the day. I just makesure that becasue ive suffered (and still suffering from in the background) an ED i dont forbid carbs because i know i might end up binging on them later on because i felt deprived! so i Just choose to eat a protein meal whenever poss. its defnately worked for me over this last week :) xxx
Can I ask when u say more protein and less carbs, do u still eat bread and pasta/rice etc in small amounts? I totally agree with u when I cut down on carbs, I feel better I eat healthier and I have less cravings, but it's finding the balance if I'm too restrictive and then eat something carby I feel like a failure and end up binging.
Good luck with the hypnotherapy I'll be very interested to see how u get on?

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